A Georgia woman has been left paralyzed after a visit to a chiropractor last month, her family claims.
Caitlin Jensen, 28, went to a Savannah chiropractor on June 16 to have an “adjustment to her neck,” states a GoFundMe page dedicated to raising medical funds for her care.
Soon after the adjustment, Jensen “became ill” and was taken to hospital, where it was found she had four dissected arteries in her neck.
(According to UVA Health, arterial dissections occur when the inside wall of an artery tears. As blood seeps into the tear, the layers of the artery wall separate, which can lead to a life-threatening leak.)
“This damage led to cardiac arrest and a stroke, as well as a loss of pulse for over 10 minutes after which she was revived,” the fundraising page reads. “Once the doctors were able to stabilize Caitlin, she was rushed to surgery. Doctors were able to repair some tears and placed a stent in one artery.”
“That morning we were up and talking to her before work. You’re talking to her and then 30 minutes later, she’s in the hospital and now in the ICU,” her brother, Caleb Johnson, told ABC News affiliate WJCL.
WSB-TV spoke with Jensen’s mother, Darlene, who said doctors told her they believe the injury occurred as a direct result of the adjustment.
“The surgeon that performed the surgery on her that saved her life, and every other doctor that has looked at her, have all agreed that this happened as a direct result of the neck manipulation,” Jensen said. “The chiropractor called 911 and then called me and told me that she was ‘having a reaction to the treatment.’”
The GoFundMe, which has raised close to half of its US$100,000 goal so far, says that Jensen is now conscious and can respond to verbal commands by blinking her eyes and nodding her head. She can also wiggle the toes on one foot. The rest of her body remains in paralysis.
Dr. Steve Ranicki, a chiropractor, told WJCL that Jensen’s injury is extremely rare.
“Those dissections will often produce symptoms of headache and neck pain, which then drive people to a doctor’s office,” Ranicki said. “Once they’ve gone to the medical doctor or chiropractor, the likelihood is, unfortunately, a stroke will occur.”
Ranicki said he’s seen similar injuries happen after people go to a salon and their neck is manipulated during treatment, although, again, it’s very rare.
Jensen had recently graduated from Georgia Southern University with a master’s degree in chemistry and biology.
As of this writing, there has been no public comment from the chiropractor or the facility where Jensen was allegedly harmed.
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